Camillo is Italian by birth and Brazilian by choice, so the food and the wine of anyplace we travel is of primary importance. ‘Comida Mineira’ can be found in and around Rio but it tends to be in the most basic of restaurants, for example truck stops and small places attached to bars, and is often served buffet style. It is also what we call in the southern USA comfort food, high calorie, high carbs, and it has long lasting affects. In Tiradentes this same food is served as culinary art and you are charged accordingly. Yes Tiradentes is a tourist place, a tourist place for the more affluent Cariocas and Paulistas but their pricing is over the top for this very basic food; rice, beans, rice & beans combined, pork, couvie (collard greens), beef cooked in gravies (a sure sign of the cheapest cuts of meat) and roasted potatoes. Don’t get me wrong comfort food is well comforting and I ate every bite put in front of me, but it was way overpriced. Can’t complain about ambiance though – two of the restaurants we enjoyed were in excellent locations. Virada’s do Largo Restaurant de Beth is off the main street; is quiet and the food is good example of what comes from the local kitchens. The desert was a sampler of local sweets and cheeses.
Our second experience was at Leitão do Luiz in the villa PAOLUCCI. If you have read my blogs about food before, you know that Camillo and I have a secret formula for saying a restaurant is priced well or is expensive. Villa Paolucci is a stunning location. It has large grounds, a house that you can browse through that is now set for large parties, even weddings, but enough remains of the original decorations to show you the elegance in which the Paolucci family lived in the past. The food was served (self service) buffet style with great pomp and circumstance, but then it was difficult to catch the eye of the waiter and the time between dinner and desert was a bit long and the coffee even longer. The problem for us was that we were the smallest group and spent time waiting for the larger groups to be ready for desert and coffee.
Here is the problem with pricing, the meal (required to pay in advance with reservation) was R$100.00 per person plus the drinks were extra. A bottle of wine normally around R$60.00 was 100.00 and so on. If the meal had been served by the waiters, and if the service had been excellent, and if the side dishes more than rice and beans I could have dealt with about 130.00 per person that we ended up paying, but I would say that a total of 80.00 each would have been closer to reality of ambiance/food/service quotient. If you want Leitão there are places in Rio just as good, including ambiance, for about R$60.00 per person.
more photos of the Villa Paolucci – click ‘view full album’ below
Tomorrow come again to see the art of Tiradentes.